Przewalski Horses and Almas

Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 14th, 2006


Cilka (above) was a beauty.

The world’s oldest known Przewalski horse died on August 12, 2006. The mare named Cilka was 34, and she died peacefully at the Prague zoo. Her ancestors lived in the grasslands of central Asia. Indeed, this animal’s legacy was as a member of a group that survived from the Ice Ages, and her hairy appearance showed her links to the Pleistocene.

As wire service news of her death mentioned:

Only about two dozen of the world’s estimated 2,000 Przewalski horses are over age 30….The Przewalski horse, or Takh, a national symbol in Mongolia, is the only surviving subspecies of horse that has never been domesticated. The horses once inhabited grasslands of central Asia, but became extinct in the wild in the 1960s….Some 300 of the horses now live in the wild.



More photographs of Cilka, without and with her winter coat.

The Przewalski’s horse, a living fossil, is of interest to cryptozoologists.

The species (Equus ferus przewalskii, Equus caballus przewalskii, or Equus przewalski poliakov – classification is debated) is the last truly wild horse, discovered in Mongolia in 1881. The horse’s discoverer, Nikolai Mikhailovich Przhevalsky (1839–1888), also spelled Przewalski and Prjevalsky, was a Russian geographer and explorer in central and eastern Asia. He conducted five major expeditions – one to the Ussuri area in the Russian Far East (1867–68) and four to Mongolia, Xinjiang, and Tibet (1870–85).

Early in the fifteenth century, Hans Schiltenberger was captured by the Turks and sent to the court of Tamerlane. After returning to Europe in 1427, Schiltenberger wrote about his experiences. In his book, he described some mountains, apparently the Tien Shan range in Mongolia and said he saw hairy Wildmen there. (Today we call them Almas.)

Schiltenberger also referred to horses that would later be called Przewalski horses, which were only rediscovered by Nicholai Przewalski in 1881. Przewalski himself saw Almas (Wildmen) in Mongolia in 1871.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

10 Responses to “Przewalski Horses and Almas”

  1. youcantryreachingme responds:

    You’re right; beautiful animal! 🙂

  2. Kathy responds:

    Oh, she was gorgeous! Those lucky enough to have known her will, I’m sure, miss her immensely.

  3. Fyre responds:

    Now this made my morning. I’m sad to hear that Cilka passed away, but happy that conservation efforts of these lovely horses is having some success. The world needs more wild horses.

  4. One Eyed Cat responds:

    With my passion for horses I am certainly aware of Przewalski’s horses, but this is the first I’ve heard of any connection to cryptids! The things you learn.

    They are tough animals, but from all I have heard never sucessfully tamed or trained.

  5. twblack responds:

    I am sad she died. But I have to admit, this is the first time I have ever heard of this type of horse. Thanks for the story, learned something new to day. Maybe you can teach an old dog something new.

  6. GLS responds:

    Nice pics and story, is it possible that we will soon read about a ‘cloned’ Przewalski’s horse?

  7. oldbutnotstupid responds:

    Thanks for the write up.I never heard of this animal. but I will be researching it now. very very interesting indeed. beautiful creatures

  8. crypto_randz responds:

    It goes to show you that there are all different kinds of cryptids out there. Alot of mysteries out there, there are many new discoveries. Theres many more to come.

  9. shumway10973 responds:

    I absolutely love it when the explorers tell their tales of seeing such things, but no one will believe them.

  10. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    so hmmmm, Przewalski saw an Almas eh? That is a new one to me… pretty respectable source though.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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